“Oh no, not again!” yelled Carolina in frustration. “Mom, can you help me fix this silly Lego house? It keeps breaking!” “I’ve been in there twice already,” Mom called out. “I can’t come, I’ve got to get breakfast ready soon. Let me finish my cup of tea in peace and quiet.” Carolina came to the kitchen door and grumped, “You never do much, Mom, except sit there reading the stupid paper.” Mom’s head shot up from the newspaper. “Is that right?” she asked with a dangerous undertone. “How about we swap jobs then? You be the Mom and I’ll be the kid.” Carolina jumped straight in without thinking, “Sure thing, that’ll be easy!” she proclaimed. She sat down and pretended to read the paper. Mom smiled to herself, and got up saying, “Carry on Carolina, but don’t forget to check the beds are made before breakfast.” Carolina huffed. “No problem, that’ll be easy.” She stood up and stomped out of the room. “Make your bed right now!” she growled at her little brother Sammy. “Mom always helps me,” Sammy whined. “I’m Mom today,” Carolina said as she contemplated the jumbled bed, “so I guess I’ll help you.” It took ten minutes to stop Sammy bouncing on the bed and hiding under the covers, but eventually the bed looked almost tidy. “Mom, you haven’t made your bed!” Carolina scolded as she peered into her own room, where Mom was stretched out on the floor. “I’m busy playing Lego, you make it,” Mom said. Carolina took a deep breath and said, “No problem, it’ll be easy.” Mom sat up and watched her finish the bed. “Carry on Carolina, but don’t forget to get breakfast ready, you’re running a bit late.” “What shall I wear today, Mom?” Sammy asked Carolina, getting into the game. “Your choice today,” Carolina said as she walked to the kitchen. She put the cereal boxes on the counter. “Everyone can make their own breakfast.” “Really!” whooped Mom, overloading her plate with muesli. She piled on the yoghurt, ate two mouthfuls, then pushed the bowl away. “Yuk, I don’t like this. Cook me two pieces of toast, please.” Sammy came into the kitchen wearing a superman cape, and his pants inside out and back to front. “Make your own toast,” Carolina said to Mom, while Sammy poured milk into his plate, over his plate, and onto the bench. “Sammy watch out!” Carolina yelled. Sammy flinched and knocked his whole bowl of cereal onto the floor. “Oops,” said Mom, “I’m going to go finish my Lego. Call me when the toast is ready.” Sammy burst into tears, “I want my breakfast!” Carolina grabbed him two chocolate cookies to eat and cleaned up the mess. Mom appeared at the kitchen door. “What’s that smell? Uh-oh, you burnt the toast. Never mind, carry on Carolina, but don’t forget to make the lunches. You’re running a bit late.” She smiled and winked at her as she left. Carolina glared at her back and called out, “No problem, that’s easy!” She gave Sammy two more chocolate cookies, then threw a muesli bar into each lunch box. As she raced to put her uniform on, she heard her mother say, “You’ve finished the lunches already? Well done! But carry on Carolina; you need to clean up the kitchen. And don’t forget to get the meat out for dinner. Have you emptied the dishwasher?” “No problem, it’s easy,” she murmured. Back in the kitchen, she jammed the dirty dishes into the unemptied dishwasher and turned it on again. She wiped the crumbs off the bench onto the floor and then pulled out a big box of fish cakes from the freezer. She gave Sammy another chocolate cookie. He started running around the room, stomping on the furniture and bellowing, “I’m a great big white shark!” Mom came in and said, “Good job. Carry on Carolina. You should’ve been at school ten minutes ago, but don’t forget to hang the washing out. There are a lot of underpants and socks today.” Carolina groaned, but she wasn’t ready to admit defeat. “No problem, it’ll be easy,” she said through gritted teeth. Outside Sammy came along and jumped in the washing basket, singing “I’m a great big white shark, swimming in the ocean.” He threw all the underpants and socks high in the air. In desperation, Carolina grabbed three socks and two pairs of underpants and pegged them together on the line. She picked up the basket and hid it behind the mandarin tree. “Who needs them anyway,” she muttered to herself. Sammy announced gleefully, “I’m telling on you,” and ran inside straight to Mom. But all she did was come outside and say, “Carry on Carolina, you need to get shoes on Sammy before we leave.” Sammy took the shoes from Carolina’s hands and dashed behind the mandarin tree. He came out with no shoes and a pair of pink underpants on his head. “I don’t want to put on those shoes. Can I wear these?” “Whatever,” Carolina said moodily. “Let’s go.” Mom didn’t bat an eyelid. “Alright,” she said. “If you’re ready, hop in the car.” At school, Carolina was hungry all day. At lunchtime she missed the sandwiches her Mom always made her. She even missed the carrot sticks. When her Mom picked her up after school Carolina jumped in the car and gave her a hug. “I’m really sorry Mom, you do a lot of stuff. Please don’t say another, ‘Carry on Carolina’”. Mom smiled. “Okay,” she said. “But I’d love to know how we can eat twenty fish cakes for dinner tonight.” “Easy,” Carolina laughed. “I could devour ten right now. I’m so hungry.” ***
Dropping her bag in her room at home, she stopped short. On the floor was the most amazing Lego house she’d ever seen, but Mom needed to add some more pieces. “Mom, can you come finish this?” she called out as she walked into the kitchen. Mom was cutting up the vegetables and Carolina heard her say, “Not again.” “How about I chop those so you can finish the Lego, Mom? Please.” Mom smiled and handed her the knife. “Carry on Carolina,” she said.
Story by Karen Cossey Copyright © Karen Cossey, 2014